By: Ali Pilgram
The Majors Fair has been dormant since 2003 until it was resurrected when board members of the Student Success Center decided it was time to bring the event back to life.
The fair took place in Fulkerson on Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 11:30-1:30 p.m. Refreshments were provided as well as prizes, which included two $250 Amazon gift cards, four $100 Barnes and Noble gift cards, a Google Home device and Snapchat sunglasses.
Elaine Bryant, who has been the director of the Student Success Center since 2012, says that the center recognized the importance of such an event after speaking with undecided students on campus.
“As we talked to our undecided students, we found really there is a need, and we’re just trying to get students connected earlier so they’re not taking classes they don’t need,” Bryant said. “It’s better for them. It’s better for us as an institution. We retain them better, and they have less student loans. It’s just better for everyone to get connected with the right area upfront.”
Bryant, who is also an alumna of Western and has been with the institution for over 22 years, explained that the critical factor behind coordinating the Majors Fair is timing. The Student Success Center strategically scheduled the fair to take place before advisement sessions officially began.
“If they haven’t declared their major, then they’ll have a little bit more information about the careers, the majors, the concentration areas and the minors that are offered,” Bryant said. “It gives them the opportunity to talk about those areas, and then when they meet with their advisor they can have a more holistic approach to ‘What can we do?’.”
Bryant expressed how proud she was of Western’s faculty for making the effort to educate students about the majors they have to offer especially considering their time sensitive schedules with advising, teaching, having office hours and attending spring conferences.
“I’m very proud to be at Missouri Western and put on an event like this because you can see the passion in the room,” Bryant said. “We may only have 10 students come through, but they’re here, and I just think that that shows a lot.”
Events like the Majors Fair are funded by Student Success Acts fund, which the Student Success Center receives through their budget. The Majors Fair was also co-sponsored by the Student Government.
Andrea Keller, admission advisement coordinator in the School of Nursing and Health Professions, says that having a personal interaction allows students to really gain valuable insight about the major specifics.
“I think that this is a really nice opportunity for students to be able to come and talk to everybody and a One Stop Shop,” Keller said. “Versus getting online and looking at a sample program, you can actually come by and learn more about the programs, classes and internship opportunities because you can actually have those one-on-one conversations here.”
Dr. Tilo Roy, who specializes in plant biology, says that their goal is to help guide students in a plan that meets their needs.
“If students are coming in, we need to know what their expectations are or what they want to do with their degree,” Roy said. “Whether they are fit for a 4-year degree in terms of what they want to do in the future, and just guide them in that way.”